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Health Inequalities

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:07 pm on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of Daniel Poulter Daniel Poulter Conservative, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich 5:07 pm, 4th March 2020

Absolutely, and that key problem was also highlighted in Dame Carol Black’s report. I should refer to my declaration in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests at this point. I believe that in London there are only five training posts available in addiction psychiatry. We have a lack of addiction psychiatrists, of trainee psychiatrists coming through with accreditation in the area of addictions, of nurses with a specialism in that and of a properly trained workforce in addictions, as a result of the commissioning arrangements. That is a real challenge, and we have to address it.

Part of the reason for that is the separate commissioning pathway we now have through local authorities. It was flagged up as a challenge when the 2012 Act passed through this House, but the warnings given at that time have, unfortunately, come to fruition, and this is now causing challenges in the production pathway of addiction workers. The real challenge faced by the sector is that the people whom addiction services are trying to care for are now falling through the cracks of those fragmented services and the quality of service provision is not as good as it should be. I know the Minister will look at this constructively, but I hope it will be taken away and examined, so that we can see how we can put things in a better place for people experiencing alcohol and drug dependency, as they are often the people who have the greatest health inequalities.